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					Chapter XI of Volume III (Chap. 53)
 MR. Wickham was so perfectly satisfied with this conversation that he never again
distressed himself, or provoked his dear sister Elizabeth, by introducing the subject
of it; and she was pleased to find that she had said enough to keep him quiet.
The day of his and Lydia's departure soon came, and Mrs. Bennet was forced to submit to
a separation, which, as her husband by no means entered into her scheme of their all
going to Newcastle, was likely to continue at least a twelvemonth.
``Oh! my dear Lydia,'' she cried, ``when shall we meet again?''
``Oh, lord! I don't know. Not these two or three years, perhaps.''
``Write to me very often, my dear.''
``As often as I can. But you know married women have never much time for writing. My
sisters may write to me. They will have nothing else to do.''
Mr. Wickham's adieus were much more affectionate than his wife's. He smiled, looked
handsome, and said many pretty things.
``He is as fine a fellow,'' said Mr. Bennet, as soon as they were out of the house,
``as ever I saw. He simpers, and smirks, and makes love to us all. I am prodigiously
proud of him. I defy even Sir William Lucas himself to produce a more valuable son-in-
law.''
The loss of her daughter made Mrs. Bennet very dull for several days.
``I often think,'' said she, ``that there is nothing so bad as parting with one's
friends. One seems so forlorn without them.''
``This is the consequence, you see, Madam, of marrying a daughter,'' said Elizabeth.
``It must make you better satisfied that your other four are single.''
``It is no such thing. Lydia does not leave me because she is married, but only because
her husband's regiment happens to be so far off. If that had been nearer, she would not
have gone so soon.''
But the spiritless condition which this event threw her into was shortly relieved, and
her mind opened again to the agitation of hope, by an article of news which then began
to be in circulation. The housekeeper at Netherfield had received orders to prepare for
the arrival of her master, who was coming down in a day or two, to shoot there for
several weeks. Mrs. Bennet was quite in the fidgets. She looked at Jane, and smiled and
shook her head by turns.
``Well, well, and so Mr. Bingley is coming down, sister,'' (for Mrs. Phillips first
brought her the news). ``Well, so much the better. Not that I care about it, though. He
is nothing to us, you know, and I am sure I never want to see him again. But, however,
he is very welcome to come to Netherfield, if he likes it. And who knows what may
happen? But that is nothing to us. You know, sister, we agreed long ago never to
mention a word about it. And so, is it quite certain he is coming?''
``You may depend on it,'' replied the other, ``for Mrs. Nicholls was in Meryton last
night; I saw her passing by, and went out myself on purpose to know the truth of it;
and she told me that it was certain true. He comes down on Thursday at the latest, very
likely on Wednesday. She was going to the butcher's, she told me, on purpose to order
in some meat on Wednesday, and she has got three couple of ducks just fit to be
killed.''
Miss Bennet had not been able to hear of his coming without changing colour. It was
many months since she had mentioned his name to Elizabeth; but now, as soon as they
were alone together, she said,
``I saw you look at me to-day, Lizzy, when my aunt told us of the present report; and I
know I appeared distressed. But don't imagine it was from any silly cause. I was only
confused for the moment, because I felt that I should be looked at. I do assure you
that the news does not affect me either with pleasure or pain. I am glad of one thing,
that he comes alone; because we shall see the less of him. Not that I am afraid of
myself, but I dread other people's remarks.''
Elizabeth did not know what to make of it. Had she not seen him in Derbyshire, she
might have supposed him capable of coming there with no other view than what was
acknowledged; but she still thought him partial to Jane, and she wavered as to the
greater probability of his coming there with his friend's permission, or being bold
enough to come without it.
``Yet it is hard,'' she sometimes thought, ``that this poor man cannot come to a house
which he has legally hired, without raising all this speculation! I will leave him to
himself.''
In spite of what her sister declared, and really believed to be her feelings in the
expectation of his arrival, Elizabeth could easily perceive that her spirits were
affected by it. They were more disturbed, more unequal, than she had often seen them.
The subject which had been so warmly canvassed between their parents, about a
twelvemonth ago, was now brought forward again.
``As soon as ever Mr. Bingley comes, my dear,'' said Mrs. Bennet, ``you will wait on
him of course.''
``No, no. You forced me into visiting him last year, and promised, if I went to see him,
he should marry one of my daughters. But it ended in nothing, and I will not be sent on
a fool's errand again.''
His wife represented to him how absolutely necessary such an attention would be from
all the neighbouring gentlemen, on his returning to Netherfield.
``'Tis an etiquette I despise,'' said he. ``If he wants our society, let him seek it.
He knows where we live. I will not spend my hours in running after my neighbours every
time they go away and come back again.''
``Well, all I know is, that it will be abominably rude if you do not wait on him. But,
however, that shan't prevent my asking him to dine here, I am determined. We must have
Mrs. Long and the Gouldings soon. That will make thirteen with ourselves, so there will
be just room at table for him.''
Consoled by this resolution, she was the better able to bear her husband's incivility;
though it was very mortifying to know that her neighbours might all see Mr. Bingley, in
consequence of it, before they did. As the day of his arrival drew near,
``I begin to be sorry that he comes at all,'' said Jane to her sister. ``It would be
nothing; I could see him with perfect indifference, but I can hardly bear to hear it
thus perpetually talked of. My mother means well; but she does not know, no one can
know, how much I suffer from what she says. Happy shall I be, when his stay at
Netherfield is over!''
``I wish I could say any thing to comfort you,'' replied Elizabeth; ``but it is wholly
out of my power. You must feel it; and the usual satisfaction of preaching patience to
a sufferer is denied me, because you have always so much.''
Mr. Bingley arrived. Mrs. Bennet, through the assistance of servants, contrived to have
the earliest tidings of it, that the period of anxiety and fretfulness on her side
might be as long as it could. She counted the days that must intervene before their
invitation could be sent; hopeless of seeing him before. But on the third morning after
his arrival in Hertfordshire, she saw him, from her dressing-room window, enter the
paddock and ride towards the house.
Her daughters were eagerly called to partake of her joy. Jane resolutely kept her place
at the table; but Elizabeth, to satisfy her mother, went to the window -- she looked, -
- she saw Mr. Darcy with him, and sat down again by her sister.
``There is a gentleman with him, mamma,'' said Kitty; ``who can it be?''
``Some acquaintance or other, my dear, I suppose; I am sure I do not know.''
``La!'' replied Kitty, ``it looks just like that man that used to be with him before.
Mr. what's-his-name. That tall, proud man.''
``Good gracious! Mr. Darcy! -- and so it does, I vow. Well, any friend of Mr. Bingley's
will always be welcome here, to be sure; but else I must say that I hate the very sight
of him.''
Jane looked at Elizabeth with surprise and concern. She knew but little of their
meeting in Derbyshire, and therefore felt for the awkwardness which must attend her
sister, in seeing him almost for the first time after receiving his explanatory letter.
Both sisters were uncomfortable enough. Each felt for the other, and of course for
themselves; and their mother talked on, of her dislike of Mr. Darcy, and her resolution
to be civil to him only as Mr. Bingley's friend, without being heard by either of them.
But Elizabeth had sources of uneasiness which could not be suspected by Jane, to whom
she had never yet had courage to shew Mrs. Gardiner's letter, or to relate her own
change of sentiment towards him. To Jane, he could be only a man whose proposals she
had refused, and whose merit she had undervalued; but to her own more extensive
information, he was the person to whom the whole family were indebted for the first of
benefits, and whom she regarded herself with an interest, if not quite so tender, at
least as reasonable and just as what Jane felt for Bingley. Her astonishment at his
coming -- at his coming to Netherfield, to Longbourn, and voluntarily seeking her again,
was almost equal to what she had known on first witnessing his altered behaviour in
Derbyshire.
The colour which had been driven from her face, returned for half a minute with an
additional glow, and a smile of delight added lustre to her eyes, as she thought for
that space of time that his affection and wishes must still be unshaken. But she would
not be secure.
``Let me first see how he behaves,'' said she; ``it will then be early enough for
expectation.''
She sat intently at work, striving to be composed, and without daring to lift up her
eyes, till anxious curiosity carried them to the face of her sister as the servant was
approaching the door. Jane looked a little paler than usual, but more sedate than
Elizabeth had expected. On the gentlemen's appearing, her colour increased; yet she
received them with tolerable ease, and with a propriety of behaviour equally free from
any symptom of resentment or any unnecessary complaisance.
Elizabeth said as little to either as civility would allow, and sat down again to her
work, with an eagerness which it did not often command. She had ventured only one
glance at Darcy. He looked serious, as usual; and, she thought, more as he had been
used to look in Hertfordshire, than as she had seen him at Pemberley. But, perhaps he
could not in her mother's presence be what he was before her uncle and aunt. It was a
painful, but not an improbable, conjecture.
Bingley, she had likewise seen for an instant, and in that short period saw him looking
both pleased and embarrassed. He was received by Mrs. Bennet with a degree of civility
which made her two daughters ashamed, especially when contrasted with the cold and
ceremonious politeness of her curtsey and address to his friend.
Elizabeth, particularly, who knew that her mother owed to the latter the preservation
of her favourite daughter from irremediable infamy, was hurt and distressed to a most
painful degree by a distinction so ill applied.
Darcy, after enquiring of her how Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner did, a question which she could
not answer without confusion, said scarcely any thing. He was not seated by her;
perhaps that was the reason of his silence; but it had not been so in Derbyshire. There
he had talked to her friends, when he could not to herself. But now several minutes
elapsed without bringing the sound of his voice; and when occasionally, unable to
resist the impulse of curiosity, she raised he eyes to his face, she as often found him
looking at Jane as at herself, and frequently on no object but the ground. More
thoughtfulness and less anxiety to please, than when they last met, were plainly
expressed. She was disappointed, and angry with herself for being so.
``Could I expect it to be otherwise!'' said she. ``Yet why did he come?''
She was in no humour for conversation with any one but himself; and to him she had
hardly courage to speak.
She enquired after his sister, but could do no more.
``It is a long time, Mr. Bingley, since you went away,'' said Mrs. Bennet.
He readily agreed to it.
``I began to be afraid you would never come back again. People did say you meant to
quit the place entirely at Michaelmas; but, however, I hope it is not true. A great
many changes have happened in the neighbourhood, since you went away. Miss Lucas is
married and settled. And one of my own daughters. I suppose you have heard of it;
indeed, you must have seen it in the papers. It was in the Times and the Courier, I
know; though it was not put in as it ought to be. It was only said, "Lately, George
Wickham, Esq. to Miss Lydia Bennet," without there being a syllable said of her father,
or the place where she lived, or any thing. It was my brother Gardiner's drawing up too,
and I wonder how he came to make such an awkward business of it. Did you see it?''
Bingley replied that he did, and made his congratulations. Elizabeth dared not lift up
her eyes. How Mr. Darcy looked, therefore, she could not tell.
``It is a delightful thing, to be sure, to have a daughter well married,'' continued
her mother, ``but at the same time, Mr. Bingley, it is very hard to have her taken such
a way from me. They are gone down to Newcastle, a place quite northward, it seems, and
there they are to stay I do not know how long. His regiment is there; for I suppose you
have heard of his leaving the ----shire, and of his being gone into the regulars. Thank
Heaven! he has some friends, though perhaps not so many as he deserves.''
Elizabeth, who knew this to be levelled at Mr. Darcy, was in such misery of shame, that
she could hardly keep her seat. It drew from her, however, the exertion of speaking,
which nothing else had so effectually done before; and she asked Bingley whether he
meant to make any stay in the country at present. A few weeks, he believed.
``When you have killed all your own birds, Mr. Bingley,'' said her mother, ``I beg you
will come here, and shoot as many as you please on Mr. Bennet's manor. I am sure he
will be vastly happy to oblige you, and will save all the best of the covies for you.''
Elizabeth's misery increased, at such unnecessary, such officious attention! Were the
same fair prospect to arise at present as had flattered them a year ago, every thing,
she was persuaded, would be hastening to the same vexatious conclusion. At that instant,
she felt that years of happiness could not make Jane or herself amends for moments of
such painful confusion.
``The first wish of my heart,'' said she to herself, ``is never more to be in company
with either of them. Their society can afford no pleasure that will atone for such
wretchedness as this! Let me never see either one or the other again!''
Yet the misery, for which years of happiness were to offer no compensation, received
soon afterwards material relief, from observing how much the beauty of her sister re-
kindled the admiration of her former lover. When first he came in, he had spoken to her
but little; but every five minutes seemed to be giving her more of his attention. He
found her as handsome as she had been last year; as good natured, and as unaffected,
though not quite so chatty. Jane was anxious that no difference should be perceived in
her at all, and was really persuaded that she talked as much as ever. But her mind was
so busily engaged, that she did not always know when she was silent.
When the gentlemen rose to go away, Mrs. Bennet was mindful of her intended civility,
and they were invited and engaged to dine at Longbourn in a few days time.
``You are quite a visit in my debt, Mr. Bingley,'' she added, ``for when you went to
town last winter, you promised to take a family dinner with us, as soon as you returned.
I have not forgot, you see; and I assure you, I was very much disappointed that you did
not come back and keep your engagement.''
Bingley looked a little silly at this reflection, and said something of his concern at
having been prevented by business. They then went away.
Mrs. Bennet had been strongly inclined to ask them to stay and dine there that day; but,
though she always kept a very good table, she did not think any thing less than two
courses could be good enough for a man on whom she had such anxious designs, or satisfy
the appetite and pride of one who had ten thousand a year.韦翰先生对于这场谈话完全感到
满意,从此他便不再提起这件事,免得自寻苦恼,也免 得惹他亲爱的大姨伊丽莎白生气;伊丽莎白
见他居然给说得不再开口,也觉得很高兴。
转眼之间,他和丽迪雅的行期来到了,班纳特太太不得不和他们分离,而且至少要分别 一年,因为
班纳特先生坚决不赞同她的计划,不肯让全家都搬到纽卡斯去。
她哭了:“哦,我的丽迪雅宝贝,我们到哪一天才能见面呢?”
“天哪!我也不知道。也可能两年三年见不着面。”
“常常写信给我吧,好孩子。”
“我一定常常写信来。可是你知道,结了婚的女人是没有什么工夫写信的。姐妹们倒可 以常常写信
给我,反正她们无事可做。”
韦翰先生一声声的再见比他太太叫得亲切得多。他笑容满面,仪态万方,又说了多少漂 亮话。
他们一走出门,班纳特先生就说:“他是我生平所看到的最漂亮的一个人。他既会假 笑,又会痴笑,
又会跟大家调笑。我真为他感到莫大的骄傲。我敢说,连卢卡斯爵士也未必 拿得出一个更名贵的女
婿。”
女儿走了以后,班纳特太太郁闷了好多天。
她说:“我常常想,同自己的亲人离别,真是再难受不过的事;他们走了,我好象失去 了归宿。”
伊丽莎白说:“妈妈,你要明白,这就是嫁女儿的下场,好在你另外四个女儿还没有人 要,一定会
叫你好受些。”
“完全不是那么回事。丽迪雅并不是因为结了婚而要离开我,而是因为她丈夫的部队凑 巧驻扎提那
么远。要是近一点,她就用不到走得这样快了。”
且说这事虽然使班纳特太太精神颓丧,不过没有过多久也就好了,因为这时候外界正流 传着一件新
闻,使她的精神又振作起来。原来风闻尼日斐花园的主人一两天内就要回到乡下 来,打几个星期的
猎,他的管家奶奶正在奉命收拾一切。班纳特太太听到这消息,简直坐立 不安。她一会儿望望吉英,
一会儿笑笑,一会儿摇摇头。
“好极了,彬格莱先生居然要来了,妹妹”(因为第一个告诉她这消息的正是腓力普太 太。)“好
极了,实在太好了。不过我倒并不在乎。你知道,我们一点也不把他放在心上, 我的确再也不想见
到他了。不过,他既然愿意回到尼日斐花园来,我们自然还是欢迎他。谁 知道会怎么样呢?反正与
我们无关。你知道,妹妹,我们早就讲好,再也不提这件事。他真 的会来吗?”
她的妹妹说:“你放心好了,尼可斯奶奶昨儿晚上去过麦里屯。我亲眼看见她走过,便 特地跑出去
向她打听,是不是真有这回事;她告诉我说,的确真有这回事。他最迟星期四就 会来,很可能星期
三就来。她又说,她正要上肉铺子去定点儿肉,准备星期三做菜,她还有 六只鸭子,已经可以宰了
吃。”
班纳特小姐听到他要来,不禁变了脸色。她已经有好几个月没有在伊丽莎白面前提起过 他的名字;
可是这一次等到只有她们姐妹两人在一起的时候,她就说道:
“丽萃,今天姨母告诉我这个消息的时候,我看到你直望着我,我知道我当时神色很难 看;可是人
千万别以为是为了这一类的傻事,只不过当时我觉得大家都在盯着我看所以一时 之间有些心乱。老
实告诉你,这个消息既不使我感到愉快,也不使我感到痛苦。只有一点使 我感到高兴──这次他是
一个人来的,因此我们看到他的机会就会比较少。我本身并没有什 么顾虑,而是怕别人闲言闲语。”
伊丽莎白对这件事不知道怎么想才好。如果她上次没有在德比郡见到他,她也许会以为 他此来并非
别有用心。可是她依旧认为他对吉英未能忘情。这次他究竟是得到了他朋友的允 许才来的呢,还是
他自己大胆跑来的?这实在叫她无从断定。
她有时候不由得这么想:“这可怜的人,回到自己租定的房子里来,却引起人家这样的 纷纷猜测,
想起来着实令人难受。我也别去管他吧。”
不管她姐姐嘴上怎么说,心里怎么想,是否盼望他来,伊丽莎白却很容易看出了她姐姐 精神上受到
了影响,比从前更加心魂不定,神色不安。
大约在一年以前,父母曾经热烈地争论过这个问题,如今又要旧事重提了。
班纳特太太又对她丈夫说:“我的好老爷,彬格莱先生一一,你一定要去拜访他呀。”
“不去,不去,去年你硬逼着我去看他,说什么只要我去看了他,他就会挑中我们的某 一个女儿做
太太,可是结果只落得一场空,我再也不干这种傻事了。”
他太太又说,那位贵人一回到尼日斐花园,邻居们都少不了要去拜候他。
他说:“我恨透了这一类的礼节,要是他想跟我们来往,让他自己找上门来好了。他又 不是不知道
我们的住址。邻居们每次来来去去,都得要我来迎送,我可没有这种功夫。”
“唔,你不去拜访他,那就是太不知礼。不过,我还是可以请他到这儿来吃饭,我已经 决定要请他
来。我们本当早些请郎格太太和戈丁一家人来,加上我们自己家里的人,一共是 十三个,所以正好
留个位子给他。”
她决定了这么做,心里就觉得快慰了些,因此丈夫的无理也就叫她好受了些;然而,这 样一来,结
果就会使邻居们比他们先看到彬格莱先生。他来的日子迫近了。
吉英对她妹妹说:“我现在反而觉得他还是不要来的好,其实也无所谓;我见到他也可 以装得若无
其事;只是听到人家老是谈起这件事,我实在有些受不了。妈妈是一片好心,可 是她不知道(谁也
不知道)她那些话使我多么难受。但愿他不要在尼日斐花园再住下去,我 就满意了!”
伊丽莎白说:“我真想说几句话安慰安慰你,可惜一句也说不出。你一定明白我的意 思。我不愿意
象一般人那样,看到人家难受,偏偏劝人家有耐性───因为你一向就有极大 的耐性。”
彬格莱先生终于来了。班纳特太太多亏了佣人们加以协助,获得消息最早,因此烦神也 烦得最久。
既然及早去拜望他的计划已告失望,她便屈指计算着日子,看看还得再隔多少天 才能送请贴。幸亏
他来到哈福德郡的第三天,班纳特太太便从化妆室的窗口看见他骑着马走 进围场,朝她家里走来。
她喜出望外,急急忙忙唤女儿们来分享她这种愉快。吉英毅然决然地坐在桌位上不动。 伊丽莎白为
了叫她母亲满意,便走到窗口望了一望,只见达西先生跟他一同来了,于是她便 走回去坐在姐姐身
旁。
吉蒂说:“妈妈,另外还有位先生跟他一起来了呢,那是谁呀?”
“我想总不外乎是他朋友什么的,宝贝,我的确不知道。”
“瞧!”吉蒂又说。“活象以前跟他在一起的那个人。记不起他的名字了,就是那个非 常傲慢的高
个儿呀。”
“天哪,原来是达西先生!准定是的。老实说,只要是彬格莱先生的朋友,这儿总是欢 迎的;要不
然,我一见到这个人就讨厌。”
吉英极其惊奇、极其关心地望着伊丽莎白。她完全不知道妹妹在德比郡跟达西会面的 事,因此觉得
妹妹自从收到他那封解释的信以后,这回第一次跟他见面,一定会觉得很窘。 姐妹俩都不十分好受。
她们彼此体贴,各有隐衷。母亲依旧在唠叨不休,说她颇不喜欢达西 先生,只因为看他究竟还是彬
格莱先生的朋友,所以才客客气气地接待他一番。这些话姐妹 俩都没有听见。其实伊丽莎白心神不
安,的确还另有原因,这是吉英所不知道的。伊丽莎白 始终没有勇气把嘉丁纳太太那封信拿给吉英
看,也没有勇气向吉英叙述她对他感情变化的经 过。吉英只知道他向她求婚,被她拒绝过,她还低
估过他的长处,殊不知伊丽莎白的隐衷绝 不仅如此而已,她认为他对她们全家都有莫大的恩典,她
因此对他另眼看待。她对他的情意 即使抵不上吉英对彬格莱那样深切,至少也象吉英对待彬格莱一
样地合情合理,恰到好处。 达西这次回到尼日斐花园,并且自动到浪搏恩来重新找她,确实使她感
到惊奇,几乎象她上 次在德比郡见他作风大变时一样地感到惊奇。
时间已经隔了这么久,而他的情意,他的心愿,竟始终不渝;一想到这里,她那苍白的 脸便重新恢
复了血色,而且显得更加鲜艳,她不禁喜欢得笑逐颜开,双目放光。可是她毕竟 还是放心不下。
她想:“让我先看看他的举止行动如何,然后再存指望还不迟。”
她坐在那儿专心做针线,竭力装得镇静,连眼睛也不抬起来一下,等到佣人走近房门, 她才性急起
来,抬起头来望望姐姐的脸色,见吉英比平常稍微苍白了一些,可是她的端庄持 重,颇出伊丽莎白
的意料。两位贵客到来的时候,她的脸涨红了;不过她还是从容不迫、落 落大方地接待他们,既没
有显露一丝半点怨恨的形迹,也并不做得过分殷勤。
伊丽莎白没有跟他们两人攀谈什么,只不过为了顾全礼貌,照例敷衍了几句,便重新坐 下来做针线,
而且做得特别起劲。她只是大胆地瞟了达西睛眼,只见他神色象往常一样严 肃,不象在彭伯里时的
那副神气,而是象他在哈福德郡时的那副神气。这也许是因为他在她 母亲面前,不能象在她舅父母
面前那样不拘礼节。她这种揣测固然是煞费苦心,但也未必不 近情理。
她也望了彬格莱一眼,立即就看出他又是高兴,又是忸怩不安。班纳特太太待他那样礼 貌周到,而
对他那位朋友,却是勉强敷衍,十分冷淡,相比之下,使他两个女儿觉得很是过 意不去。
其实她母亲对待这两位贵客完全是轻重倒置,因为她心爱的一个女儿多亏了达西先生的 搭救,才能
免于身败名裂,伊丽莎白对这事的经过知道得极其详细,所以特别觉得难受。
达西向伊丽莎白问起了嘉丁纳夫妇,伊丽莎白回答起来不免有些慌张。以后达西便没有 再说什么。
他所以沉默寡言,也许是因为他没有坐在她身边的缘故,不过上次在德比郡,他 却不是这样。记得
上次他每逢不便跟她自己说话的时候,就跟她细父母说话,可是这一次, 却接连好几分钟不听见他
开口。她再也抑制不住好奇心了,便抬起头来望望他的脸,只见他 不时地看着吉英和她自己,大部
分时间又总是对着地面发呆。可见得这一次比起他们俩上次 见面的时候,他心思比较重,却不象上
次那样急于搏得人家的好感。她感到失望,同时又怪 自己不应该失望。
她想:“怎么料得到他竟是这样?那他何必要来?”
除了他以外,她没有兴致跟别人谈话,可是她又没有勇气向他开口。
她向他问候他的妹妹,问过以后,又是无话可说。
只听得班纳特太太说:“彬格莱先生,你走了好久啦。”
彬格莱先生连忙说,的确有好久了。
“我开头还担心你一去不回。人们都说,你打算一到米迦勒节,就把房子退租,我但愿 不会如此。
自从你走了以后,这带发生了好多事情。卢卡斯小姐结婚了,有了归宿了,我自 己一个女儿也出了
嫁。我想你已经听到过这件事,你一定在报纸上看到了吧。我知道《泰晤 士报》和《快报》上都有
消息,不过写得不成体统。那上面只说:‘乔治·韦翰先生将于最 近与班纳特小姐结婚,’关于她
的父亲,她住的地方,以及诸如此类的事,一个也没有提 到。这是我弟弟嘉丁纳拟的稿,我不懂他
怎么会做得这样糟糕。你看到了吗?”
彬格莱说他看到了,又向她道贺。伊丽莎白连眼睛也不敢抬起来,因此也不知道达西先 生此刻的表
情如何。
班纳特太太接下去说:“的确,顺利地嫁出了一个女儿,真是桩开心的事,可是,彬格 莱先生,她
离开了我身边,我又觉得难受。他们到纽卡斯尔去了,在很远的北方,他们去了 以后也不知道多晚
才能回来。他的部队在那儿。他已经脱离了某某民兵团,加入了正规军, 你大概也知道吧。谢天谢
地!他总算也有几个朋友,不过他还得再多几个才好呢。”
伊丽莎白知道她这话是有意说给达西先生听的,真是难为情要命,几乎坐也坐不住了。 不过这番话
倒是比什么都有效用,使她能够勉为其难地跟客人攀谈起来。她开始向彬格莱是 否打算暂时在乡下
小住,他说,要住几个星期。
她母亲说:“彬格莱先生,等你把你自己庄园里的鸟儿打完以后,请到班纳特先生的庄 园里来,你
爱打多少就打多少。我相信他一定非常乐意让你来,而且会把最好的鹧鸪都留给 你。”
伊丽莎白听她母亲这样废话连篇,讨好卖乖,越发觉得难受。想起了一年以前,她们曾 经满怀希望,
沾沾自喜,如今虽然眼见得又是好事在即,然而只消一转眼的工夫,便会万事 落空,徒感懊丧。她
只觉得无论是吉英也好,她自己也好,即使今后能够终身幸福,也补偿 不了这几分钟的苦痛难堪。
她心里想:“我只希望今后永远不要跟他们来往。跟他们做朋友虽然能够获得愉快,可 是实在抵偿
不了这种难堪的局面。但愿再也不要见到他们!”
不过话说回来,虽然终身幸福也抵偿不了眼前的痛苦,可是不到几分钟工夫,她看到姐 姐的美貌又
打动了她先前那位情人的心,于是她的痛苦便大大减轻了。彬格莱刚进来的时 候,简直不大跟吉英
说话,可是不久便越来越殷勤。他发觉吉英还是象去年一样漂亮,性格 温顺,态度自然,只是不象
去年那么爱说话。吉英一心只希望人家看不出她跟从前有什么两 样,她自以为她依旧象从前一样健
谈。其实她是心事太重,因此有时候沉默起来,连她自己 也没有觉察到。
班纳特太太早就打算向贵客稍献殷勤,当他们告辞的时候,她记起了这件事,便立刻邀 请他们过几
天到浪搏恩来吃饭。
于是她便说道:“彬格莱先生,你还欠我一次回拜呢,你去年冬天上城里去的时候,答 应一回来就
上我们这儿来吃顿便饭。你要知道,我一直把这事摆在心上,你却一直没有回来 赴约,真使我大失
所望。”
提起这件事来,彬格莱不禁呆了半天,后来才说,因为有事情耽搁了,极为抱歉。然后 两人便告辞
而去。
班纳特太太本来一心一意打算当天就请他们吃饭,然而她又想到,家里平常的饭菜虽然 也很不错,
可是人家是个有身份的人,每年的收入在一万镑之多,她既然对人家寄存着那么 深切的希望,那么,
不添两道正菜,怎么好意思呢?

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